Hinges creak, and she swirls in the door, puts her finger to blue lips. Cold takes the old woodcutter, eyes open, breath frozen in his beard. But crystals melt in your lashes as you gaze on her glittering crown and trailing, frost-flowered sleeves. When you leave, you stagger in your straw cape, and you don’t straighten up until spring, when beauty strikes your heart like a splinter of ice. You shiver, remembering a white face, but you say nothing, not even when you lie beside her, touching her translucent throat, the cool rim of her hipbone, black hair rippling like snowmelt down the pillow. What is winter? When she laughs, you hear ice chiming on a lake. A cold ax and warm sake, she says. Don’t ask again. Yuki-onna will kiss your chapped lips and leave you sleeping like a child swaddled in snow.
Dana Sonnenschein is a professor at Southern Connecticut State University, where she teaches literature and creative writing … online now. Her publications include Corvus, No Angels but These, Natural Forms, and Bear Country. Recent work has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Hobo Camp Review, Gyroscope, Feminist Studies, and Terrain’s Dear America anthology.
Artwork: Chie Yoshii, White Fox